Lilac Fire: Difficult holiday season for North County community - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Lilac Fire: Difficult holiday season for North County community

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - The Lilac Fire has long been out, but its devastating effects continue to be felt by many North County residents.

Several families lost their homes right before the holidays, yet their spirits remain high.

The Lilac Fire tore through the Rancho Monserate mobile home park - destroying home after home. Sherri Whitman considers herself one of the lucky ones.

Whitman's home was left standing, but for days now, she has watched her neighbors sift through the charred debris- searching for momentos.

With the holidays, instead of celebrating, Whitman has been on the phone with cleanup crews and her neighbor's insurance companies.

She says as the days go on- the reality of what happened here really sets in.

"It becomes worse over time. There's shock denial initially. People who reach out with help initially as time goes forward it sort of becomes a grey memory for other people who aren't involved," she said.

The Red Cross said it is continuing to reach out to the wildfire victims. A spokesperson said it has more than 120 cases from residents in need of financial assistance.

Whitman's neighbor, Joanne, only had minutes to leave before the fire tore trough her home. Her home maybe gone, but she is grateful to the firefighters.

"They are incredible. Just incredible. I don't know how they do it - I really don't."

To those who lost the most in the fire, Whitman said, "A lot of us are praying for them."

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